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Court date set for Dartford man accused of smuggling people across the Channel

PUBLISHED: 16:42 01 June 2016 | UPDATED: 16:42 01 June 2016

Lifeboat on ocean

Lifeboat on ocean

Archant

18 people including two children had to be rescued over the weekend

A lifeboat crew member has warned of the dangers people face if they try to cross the Channel ill-equipped, as two Kent men face trial.

Two men from Dartford and Farningham will appear in court later this month accused of people smuggling after 20 people were rescued from a boat off the coast of Kent.

Robert Stilwell, 33, from Dartford and Mark Stribling, 35, from Farningham, appeared at Medway Magistrates’ Court on Monday accused of people smuggling.

An RNLI lifeboat crew recovered 18 Albanians – including two children - as well as two British men, after an inflatable boat began to sink in the English Channel on Saturday night.

Reports suggest that one woman who was rescued had the first signs of hypothermia.

Following the rescue, a member of the RNLI who was part of the rescue team, Trevor Bunney warned of the dangers people face.

Mr Bunney told the BBC the small white inflatable boat was adrift and taking in water in the “choppy sea”.

He said: “It could potentially

become a bigger problem and

it’s always a concern. Anyone who tries crossing the Channel ill-equipped are putting themselves in danger.”

Both Stilwell and Stribling were remanded in custody following the rescue which happened just off the Dymchurch coast.

Following a hearing on Monday, the pair were remanded in custody until June 27 when they will appear in crown court.

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